Rotary International is in the last stages of its campaign to eradicate polio and will commemorate World Polio Day on October 24.
The Rotary Club of Lake Spivey/Clayton County (Georgia, US — District 6900) will be participating in the fifth annual event, which will live stream from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle to bring together more than 50,000 viewers around the world.
This year, more than 10,000 clubs and 530 districts will host World Polio Day events.
“As Rotarians we have been privileged over the last three decades to be a part of one of the greatest humanitarian efforts the world has ever been engaged in, ridding our world of one of the most deadly and crippling diseases known to man,” said Lake Spivey club member Claudia Mertl.
Mertl recalled the onslaught of polio in the 1950s, remembering those affected by the disease and the first availability of vaccinations needed to prevent it.
“Most of us didn’t realise at the time that the polio virus was incurable,” Mertl said.
Rotary International has since taken up the mantle to rid the world of polio.
The organisation has partnered with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the US Centres for Disease Control and the Gates Foundation in the “End Polio Now” campaign.
“We, and our partners, are overseeing the inoculation of over 400 million children in over 60 counties in certain parts of the world today, because testing shows us the virus is still present in those areas,” Mertl said.
“But, to this point this year, we have only three endemic countries left.”
Rotary International estimates that $1.5 billion is needed to eradicate polio.
The “End Polio Now” campaign seeks to build partnerships and raise funds in order to provide large-scale inoculation.
According to Rotary, as of 2014, polio cases are down over 99 per cent since 1988.
Source: Clayton News Daily.com